Youth League Elimination Final Roundup

You couldn’t have found a closer weekend of Youth League basketball if you tried, with the combined margin of the two elimination finals totalling just three points. In the end, it was Illawarra and Penrith who won out, joining Central Coast and Manly in Maitland next weekend.

Penrith 61 defeated Norths 59

An absolute barn-burner of a game between Penrith and Norths came down to the final possession as the Panthers failed to ice the game at the line but managed to escape with a win that keeps their unlikely tilt at a second straight title alive.

Norths found it tough to find decent looks in the early stages, and deep two pointers from Teiarna Offner and Meg Creanor delivered Penrith the first four points of the contest. Alysha Skerritt quickly found her feet for Norths, and took advantage of Natalia Beaumont’s absence for Penrith, scoring six of Norths’ first eight points of the game to tie things at 8-8 heading into the final minutes of the opening term. However, Penrith regrouped, and with Norths unable to close out Dominika Offner late in the quarter, the Panthers guard knocked down a three for the last scoring play of the quarter to hand her side a 16-10 lead after ten minutes of play.

The quarter time break couldn’t have come at a better time for Norths, and they used the time to regroup as coach Alek Horenko attempted to energise a Bears side that looked slightly flat in the opening term. With the magnitude of the game firmly implanted in their minds, the visitors came out firing in the second term to score the first eight points of the quarter and take an 18-16 lead. With Penrith’s offence stuttering, Norths managed to conjure a 17-6 quarter which delivered the Bears a 27-22 halftime lead, as the likes of Milly Yates and Elle Carroll showed a lot more spark than was on show in the first quarter.

Dominika Offner found her way to the line twice in quick succession to open the third quarter, quickly trimming Norths’ lead to 27-25. Skerritt continued to find success in the paint for the Bears, whilst Yates added a vital six third quarter points in a low-scoring contest. Meg Jefferson also tallied six for Penrith, but Katerina Diamant scored Norths’ last four points of the quarter to see the Bears hold a 43-37 advantage heading into the final term.

Penrith came out stronger in the fourth quarter, and threes to Jefferson and Offner saw the Panthers take a 45-44 lead with just over six minutes to play. A technical foul on the Penrith bench allowed Carroll to tie the game from the line, before Chloe Bloom scored four consecutive points to restore Penrith’s advantage in a topsy-turvy final term. Penrith managed to hold that lead at around the four point mark until another technical foul on the Penrith bench allowed Carroll to trim the lead from the line before Carla Liebenberg split a pair after earning a trip to the charity stripe on the ensuing Norths’ possession. Both teams left points at the line in the final minute, with Charlotte Gorman’s three with five seconds to play trimming the lead to 60-59. Dominika Offner split a pair at the line, leaving Norths five seconds or so to conjure something. Unfortunately for the Bears, Elle Carroll’s last-second attempt fell short to see the Panthers book their ticket to Maitland to take on Manly in the semi-finals.

Chloe Bloom and Meg Jefferson shared top scorer honours with 15 points apiece, whilst Dominika Offner added 13 for the Panthers. Milly Yates led Norths with 14 points in her final game for the Bears before leaving for Saint Mary’s College of California, whilst Alysha Skerritt and Elle Carroll added 12 apiece in a heartbreaking loss for Norths.

Hills 58 lost to Illawarra 59

Hills and Illawarra also combined for a thriller as the home side fell desperately short of securing a comeback win after trailing by double digits midway through the third quarter as the teams played each other for the second time in consecutive weeks.

Hills’ three major offensive weapons combined for all 11 of the Hornets’ points in the opening term, as Madison Hare, Sherrie Calleia, and Zoe Burke each found the bottom of the net in the first quarter. However, Maddison Delaney continued her solid form of recent weeks to tally eight points in the opening quarter, including two three-pointers, to help the Kittyhawks to a 16-11 lead after ten minutes of action.

Brittany Clark knocked down two threes of her own early in the second quarter as Illawarra pushed their lead out to eight, but Calleia and Hare ensured that would be as large as the Kittyhawks’ lead would extend in the short term. Aided by contributions by a number of teammates, the pair helped trim Illawarra’s margin to 27-25 before a late Illawarra run took the margin back out to six points as the scoreboard read 31-25 in the visitors’ favour at halftime.

Four points from Hare early in the third tied the game at 31-31, but threes to Clark and Eleri Morris, followed by a pair of baskets from Claudia Flynn, took Illawarra out to a 41-31 lead with just under 5 minutes remaining in the third term. Hills responded with an 8-0 run of their own, but once again Illawarra finished the quarter the stronger of the two teams to hold a 44-39 lead with a quarter to play.

Tyler Vukovcan chipped in a couple of baskets early in the fourth quarter, but the Illawarra offence sputtered slightly in the early stages of the final term as Hills trimmed the lead to 49-46 on a Rachael Mules three midway through the period. Paris Roditis hit a couple of shots for the Hornets, and when Calleia found the bottom of the net, the home side had tied the game at 53-53 with just over two minutes to play. Somehow, Illawarra managed to regroup to hold a 58-55 lead with 28 seconds to play. Roditis sent Delaney to the line with 9 seconds to play, and the Kittyhawks starlet split the pair to leave Illawarra up 59-55. Zoe Burke hit a three in the dying seconds, but that would be the last scoring play of the game as the Kittyhawks escaped with a 59-58 win to move onto Maitland, where they will face top seed Central Coast.

Sherrie Calleia led all scorers with 17 points for Hills, whilst Madison Hare added 15 for the home side. Four Kittyhawks finished in double figures, led by Brittany Clark’s 13 points. Claudia Flynn and Maddison Delaney added 11 apiece, whilst Eleri Morris chipped in 10 for Illawarra.

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Sherrie Calleia (Hills) – 17 points v Illawarra
Chloe Bloom (Penrith) – 15 points v Norths
Madison Hare (Hills) – 15 points v Illawarra
Milly Yates (Norths) – 14 points v Penrith
Brittany Clark (Illawarra) – 13 points v Hills
Dominika Offner (Penrith) – 13 points v Norths

Youth League Week 18 Roundup

Sutherland saw their finals chances fall by the wayside without even playing a game as wins to Norths, Penrith, and Hornsby left the Panthers locked into a playoff berth, and Hornsby just barely hanging by a thread and relying on results to go their way next weekend. Elsewhere, Central Coast laid down a marker ahead of the playoffs with a 30 point rout of Manly.

Bankstown 61 lost to Norths 83

A win over Bankstown would go a long way to securing finals basketball for Norths, and despite a cagey start, the Bears were able to secure a win that put them in the box seat for one of the two remaining finals spots.

Tasmyn Haynes, as per usual, was at the forefront of Bankstown’s scoring in the first quarter. It seemed as though every Norths basket was replied to with one from the Bruins guard as Haynes finished the opening term with 14 of Bankstown’s 18 points. Norths, on the other hand, found points from a variety of options, with four points apiece from Milly Yates and Geena Valos accounting for half of the Bears’ 16 first quarter points as Bankstown held a slender 18-16 lead after ten minutes of play.

An incredibly low-scoring start to the second quarter saw Norths open the term on a 6-0 run which lasted for six minutes before Haynes responded to trim the Norths lead to 22-20. Annobel Starr replied with a basket to take her tally to four for the quarter, before Carla Liebenberg tallied five quick points as the visitors began to put a buffer between themselves and Bankstown. Haynes registered a late score for Bankstown, but the halftime score read 34-24 in Norths’ favour, a far cry from the closeness of the opening term.

Bankstown did a far better job of hanging with Norths in the early minutes of the second half. Georgia Gale chipped in a couple of baskets, and soon enough the Norths lead had been trimmed to 47-39. But a surge from the returning Elle Carroll re-established Norths double-digit lead, and with a couple of Bankstown players in foul trouble, the Bears held a 60-47 advantage with a quarter to play.

Norths dominated the opening stages of the last quarter to sledgehammer the final nails into the Bankstown coffin. A 13-0 run to open the term extended the margin to 26 points midway through the term and ensured Norths would give themselves the best possible chance of securing playoff basketball going into the final week of the regular season. Bankstown chipped away at the lead slightly as the match wound down, but Liebenberg secured a couple of trips to the line late in the game to wrap up the 83-61 win.

Tasmyn Haynes top scored with 26 points for Bankstown, but her only real scoring support came in the form of 11 points from Georgia Gale. Norths, on the other hand, finished with four players in double figures. Carla Liebenberg top scored with 19 points, with Annobel Starr registering 15. Elle Carroll chipped in 13 on her return from injury, whilst Milly Yates added 12.

Central Coast 74 defeated Manly 44

Central Coast’s trademark defence was in lockdown mode at Terrigal on Saturday, shutting down the Manly offence for long stretches in a 30 point rout which proved to be a real statement of intent from the Crusaders going into finals.

Each team was on the scoreboard inside the opening minute of the contest, but although Central Coast led 4-2 almost immediately, it would be another couple of minutes before they could extend that lead. Both offences stuttered slightly in the early running, with a few passes failing to find their mark and both defences doing a solid job of disrupting ball movement. Shakera Reilly finally got things moving again with a three which was quickly countered by Faith Bulgin for Manly, who knocked down a three of her own. Bulgin was the undoubted focal point of Manly’s scoring, chalking up 7 of the team’s 10 points in the first quarter in the absence of Sydney Uni Sparks forward Kimberley Hodge. Meanwhile, Alessandra Gasparotto did a solid job of making up for the absence of Sparks guard Charlie Evans, chipping in 7 points for Central Coast as the Crusaders edged out to an 18-10 lead after Lucy Chapman knocked down a late three.

Central Coast scored the first seven points of the second quarter, thanks mainly to some high pressure defence and the scoring of Reilly. It took nearly four minutes, but Manly were able to launch a run of their own as a couple of defensive lapses from the Crusaders allowed the Sea Eagles to take advantage and put together an 8-1 run to draw within eight points at 26-18. Losalini Katia found room around the basket to snap the run, but five more quick points from Antonia Henderson edged Manly back to a 28-21 deficit. The home side certainly enjoyed the better of the final minutes of the half, though. Reilly and Katia proved unstoppable at times in the last two minutes as the Crusaders’ lead quickly blew out to 40-25 by halftime.

Reilly and Katia continued to do the bulk of the scoring for Central Coast in the opening minutes of the third quarter, as the Crusaders’ multiple offensive options proved tough for Manly to defend. Caitlin Keefe knocked down a three for the visitors to stop the rot, but the Crusaders quickly put paid to any idea of a miraculous comeback. Four quick points from Taylor Ferris backed up more scoring from a rampant Reilly, whose final second three pushed the Central Coast advantage out to 59-35 with a quarter to play.

The final quarter saw Central Coast afforded the luxury to get some playing time into the legs some of their lesser-used players, with five-in, five-out substitutions not uncommon for the Crusaders as the game wound down. Emma Tunstead was the main beneficiary of some extra minutes, chipping in four last-quarter points as the game meandered to its inevitable conclusion, with Central Coast chalking up a 74-44 win over one of their championship rivals.

Shakera Reilly led all scorers with 22 points, whilst Losalini Katia added 20 and Alessandra Gasparotto chipped in 11 for the Crusaders. Caitlin Keefe top scored for Manly with 9 points, whilst Faith Bulgin’s first quarter burst helped deliver her 8 points.

Newcastle 68 defeated Liverpool-Macarthur 37

In a game with little hanging on it other than pride and, in Newcastle’s case, potentially finishing above Bankstown for 9th place, it was the Hunters who secured a dominant 31 point win over Liverpool-Macarthur.

Laura Dick fired in the opening stages, scoring six points in the first five minutes to help Newcastle set up an early 14-4 lead. A Taylor Muaulu three and some early free throws from Rayan Danine ensured Liverpool-Macarthur would not be blown out early in the contest, remaining well and truly in touch at 18-11 down after a quarter of play.

Muaulu continued to lead the Razorbacks’ offence in the early stages of the second quarter, but Newcastle slowly started to compile a significant advantage. Seven points in the space of two minutes from Bonnie Frost delivered a 35-20 advantage for the Hunters before a late Kimberley Sepuloni basket trimmed the margin back to 35-22 going into halftime.

Muaulu continued her scoring dominance for the visitors, with five points to start the quarter pulling the visitors back within 8 points. Despite this, it wasn’t long before the home side broke off another extended run, with a 10-0 streak that spanned four minutes or so extending the margin to 22 points and putting the game beyond doubt before the final break with the scoreline reading 52-30 in Newcastle’s favour with a quarter to play.

With a number of players chipping in points throughout the fourth quarter, a total of eleven Newcastle players managed to register a basket, which represented five more players than the understrength Liverpool-Macarthur side even dressed for the game. Using that depth to their advantage, the home side were able to gradually extend their lead past the 30 point mark to secure a 68-37 win.

Laura Dick top scored for Newcastle with 12 points, whilst Bonnie Frost’s second quarter charge helped her to 10 points. Taylor Muaulu led all scorers with 15 points for Liverpool-Macarthur, whilst Kimberley Sepuloni added 11 for the Razorbacks.

Hills 54 lost to Penrith 63

Both teams came into this one down a star, with Hills guard Sherrie Calleia and Penrith post Natalia Beaumont both away in Melbourne with the Sydney Uni Sparks. With the Panthers needing one more win to secure a playoff spot and their final game coming against the ladder-leading Central Coast, this was the defending champions’ chance to secure a finals spot, and they did exactly that with a solid 63-54 win.

Hills started the better of the two teams, establishing a 7-2 lead early in the contest. Penrith were far from rattled though, and quickly overturned the deficit to establish a 12-10 lead midway through the quarter. Madison Hare would have the last say in the opening term though, with her seven points for the quarter helping Hills establish an 18-14 lead through ten minutes.

Hills opened the second quarter with the first five points to further extend their margin to 9 points, but Penrith aren’t a champion team for nothing. The Panthers scored 15 of the next 19 points to take a two point lead, with Dominika Offner and Meg Jefferson setting things up before Tatiana Beaumont rattled home a pair of threes in quick succession. Kelsey Curtin temporarily restored Hills’ lead, but four points from Abbi Williams to end the quarter saw Penrith hold a 33-30 lead at halftime.

Hare continued to be Hills’ main attacking weapon into the second half, but Penrith continued to edge ahead, with Binta Salawu putting the Panthers up 41-34 three minutes into the third quarter. The Panthers’ scoring slowed in the latter stages of the quarter, and a Paris Roditis three which drew Hills within one possession at 43-40 proved to be the only scoring play of the last three minutes or so, setting up a tasty fourth quarter.

The teams were almost inseparable in the early stages of the fourth quarter, with Meg Creanor’s six points for Penrith countered by a more shared approach to scoring from Hills. Nonetheless, the teams remained separated by just four points at 49-45 approaching the final five minutes. Then, suddenly, everything clicked for Penrith. Beaumont knocked down another two threes, stepping up massively in her sister’s absence, whilst Creanor continued to hit her shots as Penrith put together a 12-0 run to put the game beyond doubt at 59-45 with just under 3 minutes to play. Penrith were able to put a late run together courtesy of Zoe Burke and Rachael Mules, but it was too little, too late as the Panthers secured a finishing position of no worse than fifth with a 63-59 win.

Madison Hare top scored for Hills with 16 points, whilst Rachael Mules and Zoe Burke each added 10 for the home side. Tatiana Beaumont stepped up massively in a vital game to finish with 15 points for Penrith, all from beyond the arc. Meg Creanor was accurate in big moments to finish with 11 points, whilst Meg Jefferson tallied 10 for the Panthers.

Hornsby 61 defeated Illawarra 54

Only a win would be enough to preserve Hornsby’s minute finals chances, and that is exactly what they secured with a dominant victory that is not reflected in the seven point margin.

Seven points from Jess Sancataldo had the Spiders flying in the early stages as the home side established a 13-6 lead within seven minutes of play. With Illawarra unable to get much going on the scoring front, a late Maddison Delaney basket was like gold dust to the visitors. Despite this, Hornsby retained a 17-8 lead after a quarter of play, with desperation for victory perhaps fuelling their charge.

Brittany Clark scored the opening points of the quarter to trim Hornsby’s lead to 7, but that was merely a precursor to a 9-0 Hornsby run. With that run extending over a period of nearly five minutes, it was well into the latter stages of the half before Illawarra managed to score again. 26-14 would have been a manageable deficit going into the second half for Illawarra, but Serena Waters had other ideas. Two threes in the final minute or so of the half blew the Hornsby lead out to 18 points and put the game firmly in the Spiders’ hands going into the second half.

In a remarkably low scoring start to the second half, Hornsby could only add 2 points to their halftime score in the first five minutes, whilst Illawarra tallied six points to start the third quarter. Although things were not yet looking dangerous for Hornsby, they very well could have if their inability to find the bottom of the basket continued. However, Sancataldo and Amy Laws stepped up late in the piece to further extend Hornsby’s lead as Illawarra’s scoring dried up. A 9-3 run to end the third quarter pushed the Hornsby lead out to 49-27 with a quarter to play and effectively ended the game as a contest.

Illawarra showed glimpses of their best in the fourth quarter, but it was all in vain. Paige Phillips knocked down a trio of threes to showcase her abilities from beyond the arc, whilst Claudia Flynn accounted for the last ten points of the game to add some respectability to the scoreline. Hornsby, on the other hand, would have been slightly aggrieved at the fact that they could only add 12 points in the final quarter after dominating for so long. Despite this, the Spiders still emerged 61-54 victors. Whilst still reliant on a number of results to go their way next week, Hornsby are still a mathematical chance of making the finals.

Jess Sancataldo led all scorers with 23 points, whilst Serena Waters tallied 13 for the Spiders. Paige Phillips fourth quarter shooting helped her register 15 points, whilst Claudia Flynn’s late-game surge took her personal tally to 12 for the contest.

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Tasmyn Haynes (Bankstown) – 26 points v Norths
Jess Sancataldo (Hornsby) – 23 points v Illawarra
Shakera Reilly (Central Coast) – 22 points v Manly
Losalini Katia (Central Coast) – 20 points v Manly
Carla Liebenberg (Norths) – 19 points v Bankstown

Youth League Week 16 Roundup

Manly and Hills locked themselves into finals spots with wins this week, whilst Newcastle provided significant nuisance value with a win over Sutherland that leaves the Sharks requiring a number of results to go their way if they are to make finals.

Norths 65 lost to Manly 66

A nail-biting victory for Manly proved to be a game-changer in the hunt for the best possible finals seeding. The win for Manly kept the Sea Eagles in third place, but Norths tumbled from fourth to sixth with the loss.

The game was close for the entire 40 minutes, with Manly’s early first quarter lead of six points the largest margin of the contest. A couple of early baskets to Danielle Shepherd and Faith Bulgin got Manly off to an excellent start before Kimberley Hodge’s first points of the game pushed the visitors out to an early 11-5 lead. Four quick points from Annobel Starr quickly closed the margin, before Shepherd pushed Manly further ahead once again. Norths certainly finished the stronger of the two teams, with Ali Burke going to the line after being fouled on a three point attempt and converting all three free throws before a late Alice Ballhausen three gave the home side a 19-18 lead to end the opening term.

Hodge was Manly’s scoring leader in the second quarter. The Sydney Uni Sparks forward accounted for half of the Sea Eagles’ points in the period as Manly moved back into the lead in what was a low-scoring second quarter. Burke’s four points were almost also good for half of Norths’ points as a 12-9 scoreline for the term saw Manly hold a 30-28 lead at halftime following Katie Castle’s basket with just under two minutes to play which proved to be the final scoring play of the half.

Norths came out firing in the third quarter, with two three pointers from Burke getting the Bears off to a solid start. But in such a close contest, Manly were always odds-on to keep things close, and although Norths got out to a 40-35 lead at one point, it didn’t last long. Shepherd and Hodge each went two-for-two from the line, and although Burke’s outstanding shooting day continued, the Sea Eagles remained within a point of the home side at 44-43 with a quarter to play.

Four three pointers to open the quarter, three of which came by way of Burke, gave Norths some early momentum in the fourth quarter, but Shepherd and Castle proved that their own radar was just as good, before Hodge rounded out a 10-0 run for Manly which sent the scoreline from 56-51 in Norths’ favour to a 61-56 Manly lead in a matter of a couple of minutes. Burke converted a pair from the line before Hodge converted a three-point play to give Manly a 64-58 lead with two minutes to play.

A late run from Norths moved the score to 66-65, but that is where the scoring would finish as Manly escaped with the win that kept the Sea Eagles in with a chance of securing the first week bye for finals.

Ali Burke was the dominant force for Norths, finishing with 35 of the Bears’ 65 points in an astounding performance that included seven three pointers. Kimberley Hodge top scored for Manly with 25 points, whilst Danielle Shepherd added 16 for the Sea Eagles.

Liverpool-Macarthur 44 lost to Illawarra 77

Illawarra potentially moved within a solitary win of securing finals basketball with a 33 point rout of Liverpool-Macarthur which saw the Hawks move to 10-7.

Despite missing Eleri Morris, the visitors opened the game strongly. A 10-1 run to start the game was led by five points from Claudia Flynn and four from Brittany Clark as Illawarra set about asserting their dominance from the outset. Kimberley Sepuloni scored five straight points for the Razorbacks, but Illawarra soon set off on another run as Maddison Delaney scored seven points in the final 3 minutes of the opening term to help the visitors open up a 23-6 lead by the end of the opening term.

Rayan Danine tallied some early points in the second quarter for Liverpool-Macarthur, but Clark showed a remarkable ability to get to the line to ensure Illawarra maintained a healthy margin deep into the quarter. Abby O’Flynn added a couple of quick baskets midway through the term for the Razorbacks, but some late free throws for Flynn and Delaney allowed Illawarra to extend their lead to 41-19 by halftime and all but secure the game even at that early stage.

Tyler Vukovcan and Paige Phillips were Illawarra’s chief scoring options in the third quarter. Despite a complete absence of scoring for the first few minutes of the quarter, Vukovcan registered 8 points and Phillips chipped in 5 for the Hawks as their lead blew out to to 60-26 by the end of the quarter as the depleted Razorbacks found themselves in foul trouble.

A far better showing from the Razorbacks saw Danine continue to rack up the points as Liverpool-Macarthur won the final quarter 18-17. However, the contest was well and truly over at this point as Illawarra ran out 77-44 winners in a battle of two teams that dressed just six players apiece.

Claudia Flynn led all scorers with 25 points as five Illawarra players finished in double figures. Tyler Vukovcan added 14, Brittany Clark tallied 13, and Maddison Delaney and Paige Phillips registered 12 points apiece. Rayan Danine led Liverpool-Macarthur with 19 points, whilst Kimberley Sepuloni added 14.

Sutherland 61 lost to Newcastle 64

Sutherland’s finals prospects are looking eminently shaky after dropping a nail-biter to Newcastle to fall to 7-10. Newcastle moved to 5-12 with the win, out of the finals race, but definitely providing nuisance value in the final weeks of the regular season.

The opening quarter was a case of swings and roundabouts. Newcastle jumped out to a 7-2 lead on the back of early points from Meiling Patfield before Sutherland blew straight past the Hunters to lead 13-7 after a quarter as Gabby Turnbull scored the final six points of the quarter to follow up five consecutive points from Maddy Norris.

The back-and-forth nature of the contest continued into the second quarter as Newcastle hit right back. Sophie Parente and Georgia Parkes opened the term with four points apiece before Megan Johnson pushed the Hunters out to a 23-18 lead. A timeout ensued midway through the term, but Newcastle kept the pressure on as the half wound down. Sutherland were fortunate that they scored the last four points of the quarter, as Newcastle had earlier extended their lead out to 29-20 with two minutes to play in the half.

Norris continued to lead for Sutherland, as she has done for the entire season, keeping the Sharks within striking distance just as it looked as if Newcastle would start to edge away from the home side. Newcastle were able to establish a 38-28 point lead at one point, but a remarkable finish to the third term from Sutherland saw the home side finish on a 15-5 run to tie the game at 43-43 with a quarter to play.

With Laura Dick providing scoring support, Megan Johnson put the Hunters on her back in the final quarter. Sutherland edged ahead to 54-51 midway through the final term before Johnson put together a remarkable run of scoring. Going on an individual 9-0 run, the UTRGV freshman single-handedly gave the Hunters a 61-54 lead before Norris snapped the run with a basket to pull Sutherland within 5 points. Patfield re-established the 7 point lead before Turnbull and Meredith Hines combined to drag Sutherland within two points with 17 seconds to play.

Laura Dick was fouled to stop the clock and split a pair at the line to give Sutherland a chance to tie the game with the final possession, but the Sharks were unable to find the tying basket and Newcastle escaped with a 64-61 win.

Maddy Norris led all scorers with 25 points, and was supported by 11 points from Gabby Turnbull for Sutherland. Megan Johnson top scored with 22 points for Newcastle, with Laura Dick adding 12 and Meiling Patfield tallying 11 for Newcastle.

Hornsby 57 lost to Hills 76

Hornsby were once again forced to play with an understrength squad, and it hurt them in this loss to Hills, with the 19 point margin a stark contrast to the 75-70 Hornsby win earlier in the season.

Hills looked dangerous early in scoring the opening six points of the contest, but the shooting of Serena Waters in the opening stages ensured Hornsby would not be left behind in the first quarter.  Eleven first quarter points for the Spiders guard accounted for all but 5 points of the team’s scoring as she and Hills’ Zoe Burke engaged in a shootout throughout the first term. Burke tallied 9 points for the visitors in the opening term, who finished the first quarter leading 22-16.

Hornsby used the three ball to their advantage in the second quarter, with Maddie Suprain and Waters the chief beneficiaries. Madison Hare began to make her mark on the contest, but with the Hornsby offence firing, a Waters three with just under three minutes to play erased what was remaining of the Hornets’ lead to tie things up at 37-37. Hills were able to rescue their advantage in the final couple of minutes of the term, but the halftime break still saw the game on a knife-edge at 42-40 in the Hornets’ favour.

Hills set about extending their lead in the third quarter, but Hornsby continued to battle away despite their lack of numbers. Waters continued to do her best to keep the Spiders’ score ticking over, but with Burke finding support from Hare as well as Kelsey Curtin in the third quarter, Hills were able to extend the lead to 56-48 with a quarter to play.

Curtin knocked down a three to open the final term to extend Hills’ lead to 11, and before long a 7-0 to open the quarter had put Hills out of reach midway through the fourth quarter at 65-48. Hornsby rallied, and a Waters three put Hornsby within 12 with 3 minutes to play, but another run to end the game saw Hills’ strength in depth put Hornsby away with a 20-9 final term to emerge 76-57 victors.

Zoe Burke led Hills with 23 points, with support coming in the form of 16 points from Madison Hare and 10 for Kelsey Curtin. Serena Waters led all scorers with 24 points for Hornsby, whilst Maddie Suprain added 13 for the Spiders.

Central Coast defeated Hornsby (game not played, awarded to Central Coast)

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Alessandra Burke (Norths) – 35 points v Manly
Claudia Flynn (Illawarra) – 25 points v Liverpool-Macarthur
Kimberley Hodge (Manly) – 25 points v Norths
Maddy Norris (Sutherland) – 25 points v Newcastle
Serena Waters (Hornsby) – 24 points v Hills

Youth League Week 10 Roundup

For the second time in three weeks we have seen a player drop 40 in Youth League as Tasmyn Haynes torched Liverpool-Macarthur in the second half. Elsewhere, Hornsby sprung an upset over Norths to strengthen their finals credentials.

Liverpool-Macarthur 85 lost to Bankstown 91

The points came thick and fast in this one as Liverpool-Macarthur came within striking distance of their second win of the season. However, Tasmyn Haynes ensured Bankstown would escape with the W.

The Razorbacks came out firing and opened up a 15-5 lead within the first five minutes of the contest. Despite a small mid-quarter run from Bankstown, Liverpool-Macarthur increased their lead in the back end of the opening term to see themselves up 27-14 after a quarter.

Bankstown hit back in the opening stages of the second quarter to move within four midway through the quarter, but a post-timeout three pointer for Biancia Carusio put the Razorbacks up 33-26. The home side would hold that lead until halftime, with Kimberley Sepuloni’s free throws right on halftime giving Liverpool-Macarthur a 44-36 lead as the teams headed to the locker rooms.

Despite the Razorbacks’ excellent first half, Tasmyn Haynes’ third quarter rendered the first twenty minutes of play a mere memory. Five points in the opening minute of the half were just the start of a positively mind-boggling 22 point quarter for Haynes as Bankstown won the third quarter 36-15 to completely flip the script heading into the final term.

The Razorbacks fought back, and by midway through the fourth quarter had trimmed the margin to a solitary point at 77-76 with 5 minutes to play. However, a 12-5 run for Bankstown gave the visitors enough of a cushion to ride out one last charge from Liverpool-Macarthur to secure a 91-85 win.

Tasmyn Haynes was beyond dominant for Bankstown, finishing with 40 points. Georgia Gale and Sabrina Zenatti each provided solid support with 12 points. Four players finished in double figures for Liverpool-Macarthur. Renee Muaulu top scored with 19 points, with Kimberley Sepuloni adding 18 of her own. Bianca Carusio tallied 15 for the home side, and Eloise Faalavaau registered 12.

Box Score

Illawarra 58 defeated Sutherland 56

Maddy Norris continued a remarkable scoring streak, but Illawarra managed to escape with a win in this rivalry matchup.

The match was a close one from the outset. Eleri Morris and Claudia Flynn helped Illawarra to an early six point lead, but it lasted mere seconds as Sutherland tied the game at 14-14 before Morris’ basket in the final minute restored Illawarra’s slender advantage. Five quick points from Brittany Clark to start the second quarter pushed Illawarra ahead by 7, before Flynn cancelled out five points from Sutherland to give the Hawks a healthy 30-20 lead with three minutes remaining in the half. Hannah Clinen and Maddy Norris trimmed that lead momentarily before Flynn knocked down a three to help Illawarra to a 33-25 lead at halftime.

As the third quarter progressed, it looked unlikely that Sutherland stood any chance of getting back into the game. A steady stream of points from Illawarra meant that the margin held steady despite Illawarra finding their way to the basket, before a Hawks’ surge in the final couple of minutes of the quarter saw the home side up 50-34 with a quarter to play.

Enter Maddy Norris. The Sutherland star had played a solid game to this point, but her fourth quarter was simply spectacular. With the Illawarra offence starting to stutter, Norris, backed up by Parrish Leavai and Meredith Hines, set about chipping away at the lead. Within three minutes, the lead was down to 9. When Leavai went to the line and converted a pair with three minutes to play, it was a two point game at 54-52. Clark managed to find the bottom of the basket with a minute to play, before Norris found her way to the line. The NSW Under 20s representative converted both, and then tied the game at 56-56 with 19 seconds to play. A timeout ensued, and Eleri Morris restored Illawarra’s advantage with 13 seconds remaining. Yet another timeout followed, but Sutherland were unable to find the winning basket on the final play of the game, and Illawarra had somehow escaped a fourth quarter implosion with a win.

Norris continued her outstanding season with another 29 points, whilst Parrish Leavai added 10 for the Sharks. Claudia Flynn was excellent for Illawarra with 20 points. Eleri Morris added 16 points, including the game-winner, and Brittany Clark tallied 13 for the Hawks.

Box Score

Central Coast 64 defeated Hills 49

With both sides missing a player to SEABL commitments, this game more or less went according to the script as Central Coast came away with a comfortable win after a tight first half.

Despite missing Charlie Evans, Central Coast were bolstered by the return of Taylor Ferris from college, who hit an early three pointer to give the Crusaders an early 9-4 lead. However, Zoe Burke was lightning in the first quarter for Hills, with her six points keeping the visitors in touch. Despite this, two late baskets from Shakera Reilly pushed the Crusaders’ lead to 21-12 after one quarter of play.

Burke continued to lead Hills with five more points early in the second quarter, and by late in the second quarter the margin was just three as Central Coast’s offence failed to get much going. Scoring just 8 points in the quarter, the Crusaders had allowed Hills right back into the contest at a point where they should have been consolidating their lead.

Central Coast re-established their margin early in the third quarter, and it all came from Losalini Katia. The FIBA Oceania Under 18s all-star scored the first eight points of the second half to move the Crusaders 13 points ahead and break the game wide open. Shakera Reilly continued to add points at regular intervals, and Alessandra Gasparotto chipped in with four points in quick time as Central Coast pushed the lead to 16 points by the end of the third term, aided by Lucy Chapman’s two late three pointers.

Any notions of a Hills comeback were quickly put to bed as the visitors could only add five points in the first four minutes of the final term. Whilst the Crusaders’ offence wasn’t exactly lighting it up, they didn’t need to with Hills unable to eat into the lead. Gasparotto added two pairs of late free throws to put the icing a 64-49 win for Central Coast to keep the side atop the table.

Chapman led Central Coast with 12 points, whilst Shakera Reilly added 11. Losalini Katia and Alessandra Gasparotto each finished with 10, whilst Taylor Ferris added 9 in her return to the team. Zoe Burke was Hills’ only player in double figures, finishing with 14 points.

Box Score

Norths 66 lost to Hornsby 81

Hornsby roared back into finals contention on the back of an upset win over Norths, who sit a game back from top spot.

The first quarter was high scoring but tight for the most part. Tylah Mundine and Serena Waters established an early advantage for Hornsby, but Alessandra Burke hit a couple of quick baskets to swing the game in Norths’ favour. The teams remained within a couple of points until some baskets in quick succession for Nicole Hutchins allowed the Spiders to open up a 26-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Mundine opened the second quarter with a three pointer, but a pair of treys from Charlotte Gorman all but eliminated Hornsby’s lead, with the scoreboard reading 31-30 in the Spiders’ favour after 4 minutes of the second term. Mundine and Kristina Moore helped to restore the Spiders’ advantage, eventually building a 44-34 lead by halftime to hold a handy advantage.

Burke and Carla Liebenberg put a dent in the Hornsby lead early in the third term, but soon enough the Spiders were able to push further ahead. Mundine and Moore continued their excellent outings,  extending Hornsby’s lead to 16. However, as quickly as the lead was pushed out, Norths reeled the Spiders back in. Katerina Diamant hit a couple of shots, and Milly Yates ended the quarter with a basket that saw Hornsby’s lead trimmed to 62-55 with 10 minutes to play.

Hornsby started the final term the better of the two teams, but Norths’ fighting spirit saw them remain within 8 points with five minutes to play. Unfortunately for the Bears, that would be the closest they would get. The Spiders closed the game out with an emphatic 11-4 run which put the game to bed and sealed an 81-66 victory.

Tylah Mundine led Hornsby with an outstanding 24 points. Kristina Moore was also solid with 17, and Serena Waters added 11 for the Spiders. Alessandra Burke top scored for Norths with 14 points, whilst Zara Olsen added 13 and Katerina Diamant tallied 9 for the Bears.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Tasmyn Haynes (Bankstown) – 40 points v Liverpool-Macarthur
Madeleine Norris (Sutherland) – 29 points v Illawarra
Tylah Mundine (Hornsby) – 24 points v Norths
Claudia Flynn (Illawarra) – 20 points v Sutherland
Renee Muaulu (Liverpool-Macarthur) – 19 points v Bankstown

Waratah Youth League Week 5 Roundup

Two overtime games and another two that went down to the wire capped an exhilarating week in Youth League as the upsets came thick and fast.

Illawarra 60 defeated Central Coast 54 (OT)

A scrappy yet tight game for the most part, Illawarra and Central Coast delivered a showstopper of a fourth quarter that ended with the teams headed to overtime after 40 minutes couldn’t split them. With Illawarra unable to get many decent looks and Central Coast forcing the offence at times, the first three quarters yielded just 63 points between the two teams. Central Coast took a 32-31 lead into the final term, but the calmness of Illawarra’s more experienced players came to the fore, with Eleri Morris and Paige Phillips providing some much needed maturity down the stretch. The home side took a 48-39 lead into the final three minutes, but Central Coast were by no means done, putting together an astonishing 12-0 run to see the Crusaders defending a three point lead in the final seconds. Somehow, Brittany Clark hit her only three pointer of the day in the dying seconds despite having a hand in her face and the game was pushed to overtime. The early stages of overtime were simply crazy. Eleri Morris and Shakera Reilly both fouled out within the opening minute, and Paige Phillips followed not long after. Despite missing Reilly, it would appear on paper that Central Coast would have the advantage in this situation, but Illawarra found much-needed scoring from other options to take the game 60-54.

Despite fouling out in overtime, Eleri Morris was Illawarra’s best on the day, and finished with 18 points, with Maddison Delaney chipping in with 11 points of her own. Rachel Williams top scored for Central Coast with 15 points, and was backed up by Alessandra Gasparotto and Losalini Katia, who tallied 14 and 11 points respectively.

Box Score

Manly 63 lost to Norths 66

Norths almost handed this game to Manly after doing so much hard work to establish a solid lead in this battle of teams from north of the bridge. With Faith Bulgin firing on all cylinders, Manly opened up an early lead. However, Norths quickly reeled in the Sea Eagles and by halftime had established a 7 point lead of their own. That lead was extended to 9 on a Lana Marov basket midway through the third quarter, but when Caitlin Keefe hit the first basket of the fourth quarter, scores were tied 53-53. The lead swung back and forth throughout the fourth quarter, with Milly Yates’ basket for Norths with 90 seconds to play being the first time the margin had been more than one possession in nearly five minutes. Amazingly, there would be no more scoring in the game until Bulgin split a pair of free throws with 18 seconds to play, and somehow Norths escaped the beaches with a win.

Bulgin was the undoubted star of the game, finishing with an astounding 28 points, whilst Katelyn Castle dropped in 14 points for Manly. Alessandra Burke was Norths’ best with 23 points. She was backed up by Milly Yates and Lana Marov, who tallied 12 points apiece in the Bears’ win.

Box Score

Newcastle 56 lost to Sutherland 64 (OT)

In the second overtime game of the week, Newcastle and Sutherland found their approaches to be almost diametrically opposed. Whilst Newcastle saw 11 of their 12 players get on the scoresheet, Sutherland were led by 29 points from Maddy Norris, which accounted for 45% of the Sharks’ points. Midway through the third quarter, it looked as if Newcastle had the wood on Sutherland, up by 9 and in control of the contest. Sutherland slowly edged their way back into the game, though. By the end of the third quarter, they had chipped away three points of the margin, and somehow held Newcastle to just three points in the final quarter. Norris knocked down a pair of free throws with just under a minute remaining to tie the game, and with no further scoring, five extra minutes were put on the clock, and away the teams went. Norris outscored Newcastle 8-5 on her own in the extra period, and Sutherland took home a 64-56 overtime win.

Norris was the only double-figure scorer for either team with her 29 points, which included 10 free throws. Rachel Whittet was next best for Sutherland with 9 points, whilst Alison Ebzery and Bonnie Frost tallied 9 points each for Newcastle.

Box Score

Hills 70 lost to Hornsby 75

Hornsby gave up an early lead to Hills in this high scoring local derby, allowing the home side to open up a 6 point margin in the opening quarter. However, Hornsby quickly came back and led for most of the remainder of the contest. The game remained incredibly tight throughout, though. Hills remained within 5 points for the majority of the game, and even took slender leads at times, although these were quickly extinguished by Hornsby time and again. Hills even held a 66-64 lead with under 2 minutes to play, but seven points in the space of 70 seconds to Hornsby gave the Spiders the ascendancy. Hills were forced to foul late on, but Kristina Moore and Tylah Mundine were clutch from the line to seal a 75-70 win for Hornsby.

Sydney Uni Sparks squad members Jess Sancataldo and Tylah Mundine were outstanding for Hornsby, finishing with 23 and 22 points respectively to lead the Spiders to victory. Madison Hare led the way for Hills with 17 points, and was ably backed up by Paris Roditis and Amelia Iskowicz. Roditis dropped in 15 points, whilst Iskowicz tallied 13.

Box Score

Bankstown 62 defeated Penrith 45

Against an understrength Penrith side, Bankstown saw their opportunity and took it with aplomb in a game that was never really close, save for an early Penrith run which the Bruins quickly took care of. A ten point first quarter lead held until halftime, at which point the Bruins’ Tasmyn Haynes found another gear. A 17 point second half effort kept the Bruins ticking along, and whilst Penrith did trim the margin to less 10 in the fourth quarter, Haynes and Sabrina Zenatti ensured that any comeback attempt would be shortlived. A late run for Bankstown meant the scoreboard may have flattered Bankstown slightly, but it was an opportunity well-taken.

Tasmyn Haynes racked up 25 points to lead the Bruins, with Sabrina Zenatti adding 14 and Georgia Gale tallying 12. Meg Creanor was Penrith’s best, tallying 9 points as six Panthers scored five or more points, but none could crack double figures.

Box Score

Manly 80 defeated Illawarra 53

Stinging from the previous day’s nail-biting loss to Norths, Manly took their frustrations out on an Illawarra side featuring a number of players that had played both an overtime Youth League game and a Championship game the previous day. Fresh off 8 points and 10 rebounds for Sydney Uni Sparks in SEABL the previous evening, Kimberley Hodge set about asserting herself alongside a strong Manly lineup. The Sea Eagles opened up an 11 point halftime lead, before Hodge, alongside Katelyn Castle and Faith Bulgin, went on a second half onslaught. 15 of her 21 points came after halftime as Manly more than doubled their halftime lead on the way to an 80-53 win.

Hodge led all scorers with 21 points, whilst Faith Bulgin added 18 and Katelyn Castle chipped in 15 to provide the bulk of the scoring for the Sea Eagles. Paige Phillips and Eleri Morris were again outstanding for Illawarra despite playing two games the previous day, tallying 13 and 10 points respectively. Maddison Delaney also contributed 12 points for the Kittyhawks.

Box Score

Sutherland 102 defeated Liverpool-Macarthur 43

In no mood for another overtime game after the nail biter against Newcastle, Sutherland trounced Liverpool-Macarthur by 59 points in an alarmingly one-sided fixture. The Sharks led 23-9 after a quarter, and there was little change in the second as the lead extended to 42-17 by halftime. Madeleine Norris dropped another 29 points, but this time had far more support than she had enjoyed against Newcastle. The procession continued throughout the second half, with all ten Sutherland players getting on the scoresheet.

Norris’ 29 points was again enough to top score, and three other Sharks finished in double figures. Hannah Clinen tallied 19 points, Parrish Leavai chipped in with 16, and Carly McLachlan notched 12 of her own. Abby O’Flynn was Liverpool-Macarthur’s sole player in double-figures, tallying 14 points in a valiant effort.

Box Score

Weekly Scoring Leaders:

Madeleine Norris (Sutherland) – 29 points v Newcastle
Madeleine Norris (Sutherland) – 29 points v Liverpool-Macarthur
Faith Bulgin (Manly) – 28 points v Norths
Tasmyn Haynes (Bankstown) – 25 points v Penrith
Alessandra Burke (Norths) – 23 points v Manly
Jess Sancataldo (Hornsby) – 23 points v Hills